Razer Phone review: A tough sell, even if it’s good for gamers

Hardware

At initial glance, a Razer Phone looks like a larger, sturdier chronicle of a Nextbit Robin, solely that instead of plastic, a Razer is wrapped in anodized aluminum. we have to admit, however, that we was not immediately tender with a Razer Phone’s design. It only looks like a tedious black chunk that doesn’t seem remarkably opposite from other Android handsets.

Measuring 6.24 inches prolonged by 3.06 inches far-reaching by 0.32 in. thick and weighing 6.95 ounces, it’s also arrange of hefty. It was flattering tough to use one-handed with my tiny hands. What’s more, a Razer Phone has true sides and pointy corners all a approach around, that can puncture into your hands. Still, a all-aluminum physique does give a phone a reward feel, that can’t be pronounced about a Robin.

Like a Robin, a Razer Phone has a energy symbol on a right side that doubles as a fingerprint sensor. It worked good in my tests, and we was means to arise a phone with a slight touch. Sitting right above a energy symbol is a container for both a SIM and a microSD card. On a left side are dual volume buttons, while a front-facing 8-megapixel camera sits above a display. On a behind of a phone is a 12-megapixel dual-lens camera; one wide-angle lens with a f/1.7 orifice and a f/2.6 telephoto wizz lens. There’s a dual-tone LED peep subsequent to a camera as well.

On a bottom is a sole USB-C port, and — only like a latest iPhones and Pixels — a Razer Phone does not have a headphone jack. Instead, it comes with a USB-C-to-headphone adapter that packs a 24-bit THX-certified digital-to-analog converter. Or, of course, we could only use a span of Bluetooth headphones.

Internal specs embody a Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 processor, an Adreno 540 GPU, 8GB of RAM, 64GB of storage, and support for adult to 2TB microSD cards.

Display and sound

If you’re going to exaggerate that your phone is “made for gamers,” afterwards a arrangement had improved deliver. Thankfully, for Razer, it positively does. The shade is an positively beautiful Sharp IGZO 5.7-inch QHD (1440 x 2560) IPS edge-to-edge display, with bright, abounding colors and shining detail. What’s even some-more considerable is that a shade refreshes during rates as high as 120Hz, that is unequivocally unheard of in a globally accessible smartphone like this one — it’s a same modernise rate found on a iPad Pro and a Japan-only Sharp Aquos R Compact.

What this translates to is a splendidly well-spoken gameplay experience, that is generally useful in action-packed titles like Titanfall Assault or Final Fantasy XV. Not all games can take advantage of a 120Hz modernise rate — many developers tip their games’ FPS in sequence to support all displays — yet Razer is operative with name devs to optimize their games for a display. Developers for games such as Shadowgun, Arena of Valor and Final Fantasy XV are already on board. Thankfully, we don’t need to be gamer to conclude this higher-than-usual modernise rate: sifting by apps and scrolling down prolonged webpages demeanour smoother and some-more healthy than on other devices. Once we see this super-fast modernise rate in action, you’ll wish it was a smartphone customary rather than a exception.

That’s not to contend a shade itself is perfect, though. While it’s ideally serviceable (and playable) indoors, a arrangement is, unfortunately, tough to see in splendid daylight. we mostly had to defense a shade with my palm only to check my notifications, and trust me, that’s not a good approach to live.

Sandwiching a arrangement on a tip and bottom are dual front-facing speakers, that are substantially a best speakers I’ve listened on a smartphone. Each has a possess amplifier and, as a phone is tuned with Dolby Atmos for Mobile, there’s frequency any exaggeration or crackling — even during high volumes. In short, a audio is loud, immersive and an comprehensive provide when personification games, examination shows on Netflix or only personification your favorite tunes on Spotify.

Software

The Razer Phone ships with Android 7.1 (Nougat) and yet a UI is sincerely clean, it does boat with a Nova Prime launcher preloaded. A favorite among Android users, a Prime launcher lets we customize all from a demeanour and feel of a desktop to mapping gestures to a accumulation of opposite functions. For example, we can map it so that swiping adult will enhance notifications, or so that double-tapping triggers Google Assistant. Of course, if you’d rather have vanilla Android, we can always mislay a launcher. Razer is assured that it’ll get Android 8.0 (Oreo) in early 2018.

On tip of that, Razer is also operative with several diversion publishers to emanate tradition themes that we can download from a Razer Theme Store. You’ll have to emanate a Razer ID comment for this, yet once we do, we can download and request whichever gaming-inspired thesis we fancy.

One preloaded app that we quite like is called Game Booster. This app lets we customize a support rate, fortitude and processor time speed for any particular game, that is good if you’d rather not make tellurian changes that impact a whole phone. For example, if we wish your games using during 120, we can set that accordingly, while withdrawal a rest of a phone during a reduce modernise rate to preserve battery. The app also has a integrate of programmed adjustments. There’s Power Save mode, that automatically downscales settings to save battery, and Performance mode, that maxes out all a settings for a best gameplay knowledge possible.

When we do optimize a diversion for performance, a formula are flattering great. we played a few graphically-rich games like Alto’s Adventure and Titanfall Assault and was unequivocally gratified with a abounding colors and pointy detail. To be fair, they were unequivocally good even though a optimizations, yet a aloft fortitude and increasing modernise rate done them demeanour that many smoother and sharper.

A word of caution: If we were awaiting a cloud-backup resolution that Nextbit’s Robin was famous for, we won’t find that here. Instead of a phone offloading new apps like Nextbit did, you’ll only have to store them a out-of-date approach — on internal storage. Thankfully, a Razer Phone’s large 64GB of space (and adult to 2TB of additional storage around microSD card) should be good adequate for many people. As for papers and photos, we can store them in a cloud, interjection to Google Photos and Google Drive, only like any other Android phone.

Camera

The Razer Phone’s built-in camera is unequivocally basic, with a ability to toggle flash, HDR and a few additional facilities like a visible grid and a timer, yet not many else. we appreciated a tap-to-focus ability, yet that’s customary for many phones these days. Shutter speeds feel a hold slow, and if we do confirm to use HDR, it’s even slower, with a check of one to dual seconds. You can fast launch a camera by double-pressing a energy key, and holding down a shiver symbol will take photos in detonate mode. That’s unequivocally it.

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